As one of the last Major League Baseball teams to qualify for the postseason party, the St. Louis Cardinals did not find themselves sprinting into the playoffs; they were limping into them. They needed a collapse from the Atlanta Braves to secure a wild-card ticket to the dance. They then proceeded to eliminate the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers before defeating the Texas Rangers in seven games to secure yet another World Series title. Based on the regular season, you could make a case that the Cards didn’t belong in the postseason, that they lucked into it or backed into it, or some such thing. But none of that matters now. They are champions because they made the most of an unexpected opportunity and surprised the baseball world.
There are many times in life when opportunities are unexpected—especially opportunities for spiritual service. But the more surprising those opportunities are, the more cherished they should be. And those opportunities can be the source of great encouragement to others. Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
“As we have opportunity” is the key. We don’t always have opportunities, and we can’t necessarily predict when they might come. But we need to be ready, so that we can act when God opens the door of service to us. Perhaps it will be an opportunity to show love to a hurting brother or sister in Christ. Perhaps it will be showing Christ to someone who does not know the Savior. Perhaps it will be an opportunity to be a blessing to the body of Christ. But “as we have opportunity,” let us grasp these surprising moments when we can do good in the Savior’s name. That surprising moment of opportunity could produce surprising results for the kingdom.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain